Suppose I Should Introduce Myselfgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I suppose an introduction would be the polite thing, as I have been poking around and even offering an opinion or two for the past couple of weeks or so. I am Christine, a 30-ish stay at home mom of two boys, five and two-and-a-half. My husband of nearly nine years and I live north of OKC in Edmond, which is twice the size it was when I moved here in 1987. We have two and one-half acres, two dogs, six chickens and one hermit crab (Thanks to my nephew who KNEW the boys needed it for Christmas!). I grew up in Oklahoma, on a farm near Earlsboro (if you know where that is, I AM impressed). My father died this spring and we now own 80 acres where he was born and raised. We aren't sure what we want to do with it, the schools are better here, and Daddy always said you couldn't get a good well over there anyway. I have a degree, but don't want to go back to work full time, and would love suggestions for part-time or at-home work to help out the income. My husband is a firefighter, and we have a small lawn care service on the side (we used to have a large lawn care service on the side, but employees, frankly, are a pain in the butt); I think he works too hard, and I want to help out, but I don't want my kids in daycare. I have enjoyed what I have read here so far, and look forward to becoming more self-reliant and learning from everyone's experience here.
-- Christine in OK (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 12, 2001
Welcome. Several years ago I put together of book on How to Make Extra Money in the Country. It is available free as an e-book upon request to my e-mail address. Anyone can request it, but those with hotmail.com accounts will need to find a different place for it to be sent.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), September 13, 2001.
I'm currently looking into and interested in learning piano tuning. If anyone knows anything about this, please feel free to enlighten me! While it isn't exactly a stay-at-home job, it may work if your kids travel well and can sit quietly while you do your work. (My daughter could do that at 2 1/2, but not my son. My son, at 5, can do that quite well.) The other possibility is that you could arrange around your husband's schedule for any job of this sort (one where you have to work in other people's homes) since most people work during the day any way and would only be home evenings and weekends.
A friend of mine has a very successful business making slipcovers. She made some for me and they are so good that most people do not realize my furniture has slipcovers on them! She measures each piece of furniture and custom fits a slipcover to it. She makes a pattern out of old sheets, then makes the slipcover from that pattern. By making the patterns she encourages repeat customers since it is less work and expense to make new slipcovers when the pattern is already made. The initial slipcovers, with pattern, are only about 30% less costly than buying new furniture, but subsequent slipcovers are about half the price or less, depending on how much the materials cost. I didn't include in the cost what it would cost to dispose of old furniture, nor the fact that I would rather reduce/reuse/recycle than not.
-- Sheryl in Me (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 13, 2001.
Perhaps the 80 acres could be rented to mobile home dwellers. If there's deer there, you could rent it to deer hunters this winter. There may be oil or gas on the land.
-- Rick#7 (email@example.com), September 13, 2001.
Christine, 80 acres will make a great weekend get-away for you and your family. If it is pasture land you could lease it out to ranchers and maybe make enough money to pay the taxes on it. This could very well be your homestead when the kids go to college.
Me and my sister both grew up here in the country and our school system is not the best when you compare it with the bigger schools. I chose to stay in the country to raise my family while my sister doesn't want to move back to the country because of a better school system for her kids. One thing we both agree on is that home schooling is not the answer for we think that competing against other students and other school teams is very important to be competitive in the real world.
One thing I would definetly do with the 80 acres is to hold on to it as long as I could. You may not have a big need for it right now but one of your children or grandchildren could certainaly use it tomorrow when land is going to be very scarce and very expensive.
-- r.h. in okla. (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 13, 2001.
If you plan on staying at your present location for several more years, why not plant a half acre of that 2.5 acres into asparagus? It's a real money making crop and since you live near a large population, you would have no problem making good money every year off a crop that lasts 20+ years once planted. Better than money in the bank. Work hard for eight weeks of the year and keep the weeds down for the rest of the season.
I have a half acre (3 & 4 year old plants) field of asparagus which I harvested for about 6 weeks this year. I netted about $3000 in that six weeks, selling retail to individual customers and to restaurants, at $2.00 per pound or $1.75 in bulk amounts.
I didn't harvest 100% of the asparagus that came up but rather let some of the stalks mature, and only harvested 6 weeks to give their roots a break since I don't irrigate and we live in a low rainfall region.
If I harvested the full 8 week season next year and harvest 100% of what comes up as you're supposed to, and have a wet spring, the income could go to $5000-$7000 per year. Not bad for a half acre of ground. What do corn farmers get per acre? $20-$25.
No, I don't live near a large population center. In fact, this entire harvest was consumed by a town of 2800 pop., 28 miles away. I may have to branch out to another town pop. 1900 next year when the crop is bigger.
Major cost of starting the asparagus plot is of course buying the roots, which run 12 to 15 cents apiece direct from an asparagus farm. You can get about 5000 plants in a half acre so your big initial cost for the roots would be $600-$750, plus hiring the digging of the trenches if you don't have a tractor, and some fertilizer.
You have a plus in that your two sons would be old enough to help out with the picking in three years or so. Here, I do all the picking by myself and a partner in town does the marketing. But you could do all the marketing at your place -- the people would come to you to buy fresh asparagus, believe me. The market is already there, you don't have to create one like you do with exotic animals, etc.
And think of this, when and if you decide to move off your little acreage, that half acre of asparagus will add several thousand dollars to the value of the property. Just keep good records and show potential buyers what that field has yielded over the past several years
In 10 years of production, that half acre of asparagus with an initial cost of under $1000 could yield $50,000 to $70,000 or more! Talk about a sound investment for you kids' future!
If you really wanted to do it big, you could put an entire acre into asparagus! But that might put you in a higher tax bracket.
-- Bruce (email@example.com), September 13, 2001.
hi! we have 13 acres here but if I suddenly had 80 acres I'd move right into the middle of it! If you have a degree there's lots of things you can do at home...tutor students; teach lessons: how to decorate a cake, play piano, knit, make Christmas ornaments, etc.
I'm a full time investigative newspaper reporter/photographer and my office has ALWAYS been at home even tho I've been a reporter for 21 years!!! I started that way because I had small children at home!
best of luck! suzy
-- Suzy in Bama (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2001.
hi christine I have inlaws that live in Earlsboro. why don't you just hang on to the 80 acres you may need or want it later on. As far as a job at home why not try some of the things the other people has suggested. The 80 acres could be your retirement homestead. You could be fixing it up like you want it while living in Edmond. Or you could rent it out if it has a house or mobile home on it. gail in okla
-- myra gail akins (email@example.com), September 17, 2001.
I'm just now getting to read all of the wonderful responses. We had an estate sale this weekend, in the pouring rain, and I have been kept hopping with that, being at my house. My 80 acres used to have a house on it, but it was set on fire when I was about 13; there is nothing there now but the foundation and a couple of old barns. I guess I am selfish, but I couldn't rent it out to mobile homes - for the practical side, it isn't set up for it as far as utilities - for the impractical side, no one but a Jeske has lived on that land since 1903, and I'm just not willing to let them start now!
I may be requesting your book soon, Ken, when things settle down around here and I find my kitchen cabinets buried under all the stuff I just couldn't put in the estate sale. I like the asparagus idea, and I like the crafts idea - I would have to start simple, though, as I freely admit that my patience is not what it should be when it comes to sewing and crafts - I blame that on my mother, I used to sew with her looking over my shoulder and making me "rip it out" when it wasn't up to her standards. Of course, practically the only time I sewed was for the 4-H dress review. I did win grand champion one year and reserve grand another, though!
An opportunity may have arisen that I am a little excited about. Our church has just moved into a new building with a sanctuary for 1,600, and there may be an opening for a part-time custodian. It may not be glamourous, but I could work around my husband's schedule, and possibly even take my 5 year old with me while the 2 1/2 year old is in mother's day out in the same building! If I can make the car payments and not have to get rid of that suburban I fought getting for so long and now really enjoy I will be happy.
Again, thanks for all the lovely responses, and keep them coming!
-- Christine in OK (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 2001.